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Melior biteth the dust - cautionary tale for all

 
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mark_in_saigon



Joined: 20 Sep 2009
Posts: 770

PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 2:31 pm    Post subject: Melior biteth the dust - cautionary tale for all Reply with quote

http://www.tuoitrenews.vn/cmlink/tuoitrenews/education/education-news/melior-school-closes-with-syllabus-unfinished-1.91925

Hundreds of students of the Melior Business School (MBS), based in Ho Chi Minh City, may lose their tuition fees and get no certificate as the unit suddenly closed yesterday and its Singaporean director Cheng Sim Kok fled.

If I am not mistaken, this was a very high class looking place, I had looked it over a couple of times and thought it should be a tier one school based on appearance and presentation. Notice the costs as well:

“I paid a fee tuition totaling VND138 million. Later I paid another sum of VND35 million and the school completed only two semesters. On Nov.8, my son went to school but it closed today,” Nguyen added.

Ms. Le Thi Hong, mother of student Nguyen My Linh, said she paid VND228 million ($11,000) but her daughter only finished a semester.

“The school said that after three semesters, Linh would be sent to Singapore to research her thesis and get a graduation certificate in Singapore,” Hong said.



We had a bit of a hint on this, there was some news recently about schools passing out certificates without the sacred local approval, I think another Singapore based outfit just fell to this, correct me if I am wrong, not certain about this, but this Melior sure did.

Any of our guys work there and care to let us know some detail?

Now, I don't know beans about this place, other than it looked like a high class outfit from the street, and sure made some VN parents agree, looking at what some of them coughed up for it.

For folks coming over, or who have not been here long, this should show you the reality of what we are facing. It does not matter how snooty, how high class, what their promises are, nuttin. None of that stuff matters. It is freaking POT LUCK over here. The worst and the best, it does not matter. Any of these deals can turn into a disaster. Yeah, work long enough, you will get some jobs you enjoy, you may like it for a while, you may have to move on and eventually you may do okay. But you never know when the next deal is going to be a disaster. Do not count on ANY of these deals. Yeah, you have to go on faith that you will get paid and that your job will go on, but you damn sure better be ready for it to be an illusion.

The best profile for being here is to have financial resources adequate to live without work. Then the income from work is extra. If you find the thing is getting stupid, split, take some time off, look around, try again. Do not go on faith that anything is going to work out here. It is not that stable, not that organized, not that professional. It is pot luck. By the way, the story quotes a teacher saying he did not get paid for November, so that is not too bad, could have been worse. My guess is the worst we will get tagged is about a month, I damn sure would not go on letting any school owe me much more than about 35 days or so.
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deadlift



Joined: 08 Jun 2010
Posts: 258

PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 12:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://tuoitrenews.vn/cmlink/tuoitrenews/education/education-news/schools-offering-singapore-programs-to-be-scrapped-1.92003

Quote:
Besides MBS, at least three other schools, including the Singapore Informatics and Business Management Education Company (SIBME), ERC Institute Vietnam (ERC), and the Institute of Finance and Administration (IFA) will be stripped of business permits. While only allowed to run short-term vocational programs (for less than a year), they enrolled hundreds of students in unlicensed undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs that last longer than a year.
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mark_in_saigon



Joined: 20 Sep 2009
Posts: 770

PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 4:20 am    Post subject: yeah, that is the one Reply with quote

Yeah, I thought it was SIBME, but saw their website still looked normal, so did not want to say for sure. They have been operating here quite a while. SIBME had been in the news on this issue a while back, so looks like the hammer is coming down on them as well. The way I read all this (including the previous story which had a bit more detail about the underlying issue), the problem was not the quality of these programs, but that the programs were not officially sanctioned by the VN system. If anyone has more knowledge of this, please weigh in.

Interesting to read about this stuff, but we should also remember when we do, this is a small part of the reality of what these people have to navigate. I know a VN who went thru an entire 2 year program only to be denied her certificate, along with her entire class. Years later, that school is still doing the same thing to students. No wonder these same students see nothing wrong with then going out and buying a fake certificate to take the place of the certificate they earned but were not given (probably because they did not know they were supposed to come around and fork up some extra incentive for the teachers).

I care about these people and this nation, actually love it, but it is very hard for us to help them when they do this stuff to themselves. In a way, we are almost caught up in the system, we get the benefit of the high pay and status, but we really cannot help them as long as they operate this way. The one bright spot I see is that the system is at this time allowing some of these very troubling truths to be openly reported, some of the stories are quite blunt in the reality they portray. The stories are of things that have always been going on, but in the past were not openly reported. Here is a recent example, though it may be better posted in another thread. If we get much comment on it, it really belongs in the dog eating thread, though the real "meat" of the story is obviously about the system, not the dogs. Maybe we really should have a dedicated thread to openness of reportage here, which is quite interesting to see progress.

Many international studies say that such extrajudicial executions usually happen when societies fall into anarchy and governments are no longer able to ensure security.

For instance, after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti more than 40 people were reported to be executed by mobs for allegedly spreading cholera. The lynching occurred because the government could not control society any more, and people lost trust in the government after the natural disaster killed at least 250,000.

The increasing incidence of mobs executing dog thieves is evidence that people are losing trust in local authorities, and that they are anxious and outraged by the rash of dog thefts.

The anxiety and loss of trust in authorities seem to be spreading. The media reported recently that people, having lost confidence in the police, are arming themselves to deal with robbers who are increasingly resorting to violence when confronted.

If the government does not improve its functioning, starting with enforcing laws, social unrest will ensue sooner or later.
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vabeckele



Joined: 19 Nov 2010
Posts: 439

PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 7:04 am    Post subject: Dog eat dog Reply with quote

I came to a realisation that small and large companies are going to have to pay under the table, use underhanded tactics, actually screw students over to be able to operate here, but face very different circumstances - The results are the same:

The students are really getting the sh..ty end of the stick, everytime. That really gets me, especially when some of these larger organisations charge tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege of ending up with nothing.

The larger corporations, 'cause that's what they are, are having to operate on a level of corruption unheard of by the average western man. Teachers are given work permits, visas, holidays and so on. So at the employee level, all looks good; a reputable organisation following the rules and providing stability for its staff. This isn't what is going on upstairs; it is impossible for these organisations alone, to break the laws so fragrantly and for so long, without the all too conspicuous knowledge, and a great helping hand from the government - we are talking of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Then you have your 'entrepreneur' teacher, who desperately tries to get himself a work permit, residence card, pay taxes, get a visa, get a business up... ad infinitum, and the result is all to commonly, disaster (an all too common solution: 'get married', yeah, ok, right).

This, is, of course all withing the field of education.

It is hypocrisy by all parties, but more so from the host country, but let's face it, none of these companies go home broke like the budding entrepreneur. Raffles got a three thousand dollar fine for the absolute disregard for any laws, academic principles, and the lives and futures of its students. You might as well give a murderer a slap on the wrist for his serious crime, that, by the way, was going on for years.

The Vietnamese universities can do it for eternity, okay, its their country, and I accept it, I even work within it - I feel safer, ironically (certainly the oppostie of the miriad of local English centres here).

How long will RMIT and BUV be able to stand up as figureheads? Of course, the B.C. had it figured out all along; it's a charity God dammit - Russia put an end to that though.

I very much doubt any of these providers of education left with a sad face. In fact they are probably abusing some other 'growing economy' with the profits - I hear Raffles has a shiny new campus in Cambodia.
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vabeckele



Joined: 19 Nov 2010
Posts: 439

PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 7:32 am    Post subject: Implicit Reply with quote

What was implicit in my last post was the inability of the local population to really pass the standards of the education providers' certificates and degrees of Anglo-Saxon designed courses - The country just doesn't have the required frameworks to develop the level of language to be able to pass these exams, nor an abundance of competent language users to pick from (forget incentives): Vietnam knows it and so do the foreign providers that operate here.

Both have to make a compromise, but still have to maintain 'face'. Just recently, Vietnamese teachers of English, by a new decree, 'must be of B1 level to teach English in schools.' What happens? Well, you get a B1 level course arranged, get some poor native Englsih teacher to believe all the teachers are ready for the training, only to find they have difficulties defining, 'teacher'.

If this is the case for primary and secondary school teachers, just imagine what it is like for tertiary level content based course in English. Everyone smiles, takes the money and forgets to implement any long standing framework for the country to develop its own knowledge base. Until deep suspicion, fear, a protective stance and corruption are the order of the day, nothing will change.
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mark_in_saigon



Joined: 20 Sep 2009
Posts: 770

PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 7:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Until deep suspicion, fear, a protective stance and corruption are the order of the day, nothing will change.

You mean WHILE instead of until, right?


it is impossible for these organisations alone, to break the laws so fragrantly and for so long, without the all too conspicuous knowledge, and a great helping hand from the government

Could not agree more.
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vabeckele



Joined: 19 Nov 2010
Posts: 439

PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 9:13 am    Post subject: a bit tired Reply with quote

Yep, I did mean that, sorry - Thanks for pointing it out. We wouldn't want to give the wrong impression now, would we Wink
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sigmoid



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 1002

PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 2:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's a follow-up article on the situation:

Singaporean school’s closure opens a can of worms
Last Updated: Friday, November 23, 2012 02:00:00

Int’l tertiary education in HCMC marked by dubious quality, inept administration

http://www.thanhniennews.com/2010/Pages/20121123-Singaporean-schools-closure-opens-a-can-of-worms.aspx
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mark_in_saigon



Joined: 20 Sep 2009
Posts: 770

PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 8:23 am    Post subject: two more Reply with quote

These SIBME folks have been around for quite a while I think, not sure about the other one.

http://www.thanhniennews.com/index/pages/20121123-another-singapore-school-loses-license-in-vietnam-metro.aspx

Vietnam metro closes two more Singapore schools for offering illegal courses
Last Updated: Sunday, November 25, 2012 11:30:00


Ho Chi Minh City authorities have revoked the licenses of two Singapore schools for illegally offering undergraduate and graduate courses.

The Education and Research Center Institute Vietnam and the Singapore Informatics & Business Management Education Ltd. were licensed to provide vocational training, but they also opened classes that offered college, university and master diplomas in business administration, accounting, information technology, restaurant management and tourism.

Both schools, the first having 365 students and the latter 250, were among three Singapore schools found committing similar violations earlier this year.

The Ministry of Education and Training on October 11 had ordered the city authorities to revoke the licenses of all three schools, the other being Melior Business School.

But late response by the city allowed Melior to shut down and disappear on November 10, leaving many foreign teachers and around 150 students in shock. Many students had paid tuition fees of US$10,500 only hours before the school closed later that day.

The city Department of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs revoked the license of Melior three days after it shut down.

Melior general director in Vietnam, Cheng Sim Kok, later told Thanh Nien in an email that he is trying to help students continue their studies with its parent institution in Singapore as well as schools in Vietnam and the city-state.


He denied allegations that he had swindled money from the firm and fled the country.

Patrick Loke, founder and general director of Melior International College in Singapore, has failed to respond despite several calls from Thanh Nien.
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sigmoid



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 1002

PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Melior general director in Vietnam, Cheng Sim Kok, later told Thanh Nien in an email that he is trying to help students continue their studies with its parent institution in Singapore as well as schools in Vietnam and the city-state.


He denied allegations that he had swindled money from the firm and fled the country.


Aaahhh... This brings back fond memories of SITC... Wink
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btsmrtfan



Joined: 01 Jul 2010
Posts: 74
Location: GPS Not Working

PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sigmoid wrote:
Quote:
Melior general director in Vietnam, Cheng Sim Kok, later told Thanh Nien in an email that he is trying to help students continue their studies with its parent institution in Singapore as well as schools in Vietnam and the city-state.


He denied allegations that he had swindled money from the firm and fled the country.


Aaahhh... This brings back fond memories of SITC... Wink



Teachers showed up to teach a class and the doors were locked and the lights were off. So much for that gig:

http://english.vov.vn/Society/SITC-Vietnam-Director-arrested-by-Taiwanese-police/37536.vov
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